The Redskins 2015 rookie class made a strong showing in Sports Illustrated’s 2015, first-round re-draft. Writer Chris Burke slotted two Washington players, guard Brandon Scherff and outside linebacker Preston Smith, 17th overall or higher.
Citing Washington’s need at defensive end, Burke has the team picking Jets’ defensive end Leonard Williams (originally selected No. 6) instead of Scherff at No. 5. Scherff, who was drafted as an offensive tackle but successfully shifted over to fill the team’s need at guard, fell to the San Diego Chargers at No. 17.
“Scherff’s selection way up at No. 5 overall coupled with his permanent placement at right guard combined to drive criticism Washington’s way,” Burke wrote. “Most of it was misguided. Scherff shook off a shaky start to 2015 and eventually became the mauler everyone expected.”
The big riser for the Redskins was Smith. The pass rusher jumped a full round--from No. 6 in the second round to No. 6 in the first--after a leading all rookies last season with eight sacks, including five when they mattered most in the final three weeks of the season.
Despite Scherff’s drop to the middle of Burke’s hypothetical first round, the fact that he remained in the top-32 is a testament to the strength of the original pick. Scherff filled a pressing need for the Redskins, and any player that winds up in the first round of a re-draft should be considered a hit. Scherff and Smith weren't the only rookies to make an impact, either.
Add the solid season from fourth-round pick Jamison Crowder along with the still budding potential of third-round pick Matt Jones to the success of Smith and Scherff and it’s safe to say: Washington had one of the best drafts of any team in 2015 with multiple rookies contributing to the team’s success in its division-winning season.
The Redskins will hope to draw similar results out of the upcoming draft, which takes place in Chicago from April 26-30.